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  • #22840
    MegRN18
    Participant

    Hey guys!
    I’m brand new to the forum & joined for a support group and to hear from fellow sufferers.
    I’m 22 years old & had my first papsmear 2 weeks ago because I’m getting married in July & wanted to be sure everything “looked okay” down there before the wedding night. As background, my husband to be & I are both virgins wanting to save our first time for each other on our wedding night. Also, I started my period when I was 15 and have only been able to use a tampon once and it was a very traumatic experience.. I tried and tried and couldn’t do it, but was desperate because I was going swimming, so my mother inserted it for me while I layed in my bathroom floor. The tampon insertion hurt, but once it was in I was perfectly comfortable and fine!
    Anyways…
    I was very nervous for my first exam, but kept telling myself it would be okay, just a quick discomfort & then it’s over right? Well I was way wrong. I’m normally a silent sufferer and never make a scene about any pain.. but it hurt so badly, I yelped out like a puppy who had been stepped on and tears began to uncontrollably stream. My gyn quickly apologized & asked her aid for a smaller spectulum. She tried again & the same result, but she quickly finished the exam regardless. When she sat me back up, she asked if I had ever been sexually abused. Woah, was I obviously that fearful and a nervous crying wreck?? I told her no as I tried to regain my composure. She then told me of a condition called vaginismus. She said she isn’t going to diagnose me yet, but if I had any problems on my honeymoon that I needed to come back. She told me to think about it, but I may need to take anxiety medication for my wedding night to go smoothly (wondering if anyone else has ever taken anxiety meds for this??). She told me to try to use tampons again & that may also help my body get used to penetration. However, I just tried to use a tampon and ended up crying in the bathroom at work feeling hopeless!
    I went to my mother in confidence & she told me it’s all in my head, it’s all just me psyching myself out and worrying about “what if’s?”. Which made me feel more worthless & frustrated because I want so badly for this not to be an issue for me.
    I’ve talked with my fiance & he is the sweetest, most understanding man who says no matter what he loves me & we’ll figure it out. But I still feel so lost and like I’ll be a failure as a wife because I may not be able to give him the love he deserves.
    I’d love to hear opinions, stories, and encouragement.
    Thank you so much for taking the time to read my story & respond!

    #22844
    recessivegenequeen
    Participant

    MegRN18, welcome to the forum and thanks for opening up to us! It’s a hard thing to do for many. I had vaginismus myself for about 10 years that was eventually treated through the botox procedure at Maze (which I’ve talked about in more detail elsewhere around the forums) and I was never bold enough to post here, but when I was figuring out my problem the fact that these forums EXISTED was very important to me.

    I’m so sorry to hear about the issues you have experienced so far – your story is very familiar to me as someone who dealt with vaginismus in the past. Early tampon issues are often a person with vaginismus’s first experience of the problem, long before they understand the issues it can bring to their sex life. One thing I will say is that you are very lucky to have had a knowledgeable gynecologist who told you about vaginismus! Vaginismus isn’t nearly as known or discussed in the gynecological community as it should be and many people’s early experiences of going to a doctor for a pelvic exam are being told to “just relax” and ultimately feeling bad about themselves when they can’t have a routine exam.

    I would highly encourage you to disregard your mother’s advice for the simple reason that she’s not you and doesn’t understand the way your body works the way you do. I’m really glad to hear your fiancee has been supportive, as he will be a huge resource if you do discover you have vaginismus and want to treat it.

    The thing I would suggest you do is before your wedding night if possible, get a set of dilators and some lube and just try inserting the smallest one and see what happens. If you aren’t able to insert it, that’s a good thing to know going in, because chances are (as much as I don’t WANT this to be true) you likely wouldn’t end up being able to have sex on your wedding night if you’re unable to insert smaller objects like dilators. The thing that makes vaginismus very insidious to treat is that it gets worse over time, because the longer you’re not able to have sex, the more insecurity and self-loathing builds up and the harder it is mentally to overcome the emotional pain around your sexual life. It was probably about 7 years into my sexually active life before I discovered the condition of vaginismus (which happened as the result of internet research and NOT because any doctor told me about it), and after that it was another 3 or 4 years of knowing I had vaginismus before I did anything to treat it. You’ll do yourself a huge favor if you can figure this out early on and approach your sex life proactively as a result.

    The absolute most important thing I want you to understand about vaginismus if you take anything away from this is that it is EXTREMELY treatable! Whether you end up using dilators or botox or some other method, vaginismus can be completely overcome – I used to jump off the table during exams and can now have sex painlessly (and pleasurably) with my partner. I know it is scary to consider the possibility that you have vaginismus, but start clicking around the forums and you’ll see that scores of other women have overcome this and want the same for you. We are here to support you and answer any questions you have along the way!

    #22920
    Sks823
    Participant

    MegRN18,

    I’m so so sorry to hear about your difficult pap smear and issues with tampons in the past. But (like recessivegenequeen said) it’s great that you found this website and know that you may have vaginismus! I’m also happy to hear your fiancé is super sweet and supportive and understanding 🙂

    I overcame vaginismus using dilators of increasing size and going to Maze Women’s Health center every couple/few weeks to help me with the dilators (so physical therapy… for those muscles down there). Like recessivegenequeen also said, I recommend buying dilators on your own and seeing if you are able to use them without help.

    If you are unable to use them on your own, I would recommend looking up women’s health centers that know about vaginismus – maybe giving a few a call to see if they would be able to help show you how to use the dilators (and see if they take your insurance if you have it).

    I think that you might feel comfort in reading my success story, as I had the same issues as you and got through dilation therapy a much more confident and strong person – and it was obviously the hugest weight off my shoulders to not feel anxious and worried about sex – I honestly can’t even describe the relief!

    I think I was also a difficult case seeing as I couldn’t wear tampons, hadn’t had a pap smear, and had EXTREME anxiety my first few appointments (they prescribed me Xanax to take before appointments, which I did and I’m not 100% how it affected me, I don’t remember feeling much different, but I got through the appointments so I’m assuming they were helpful!).

    Here are a couple quick excerpts from my post:

    “This comes from me being a very difficult case – I couldn’t wear tampons from the pain/fear, and the thought of dilating with even the smallest dilator gave me immense fear. The physical portion of the first couple appointments were incredibly nerve-wracking; I was prescribed Xanax to take before each following appointment.

    When I was able to move up in dilator sizes every appointment, I felt accomplished and motivated.

    Just wanted to reach out and share a bit of my story. While there were times of frustration and times I wanted to give up, I’m so glad I went out of my comfort zone to make the first appointment and persevere …”

    My post and another success story from someone who had the botox procedure that is mentioned a lot throughout these forums can be found here: https://www.mazewomenshealth.com/forums/topic/reflections-in-the-new-year/

    The most important step is NOT GIVING UP. It might not be easy but with time and determination you can do it! Vaginismus is SO TREATABLE, it CAN BE FIXED!

    In my opinion the biggest challenge was when I didn’t exactly know how to use the dilators on my own, but once I was able to put in the smallest one by myself, the rest of my vaginismus “journey” went much smoother (with lots of small successes, like being able to use tampons!)

    I hope this helps a bit, I know firsthand that vaginismus is a lonely thing to go through! Definitely look through some success stories on this forum to show you that there were so many of us in your shoes that were able to overcome this.

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